It's that time of year again! (well it's past that time of year but I'm fudging the date of this post to squeak it in on time. Try and stop me!) The year didn't quite go as planned - but that's hardly anything new. On the other hand.... until I hit July, I had been working surprisingly on schedule! I managed to finish all my "mostly finished" holdovers from 2016 plus a few brand new projects, but then I burnt out, and my free time started getting channeled into other things; mostly trying to figure out my upcoming move. Still... I'm going to focus on the positives here!
Positives like: actually hitting several of my cosplay deadlines, especially for Costume-Con since I entered two costume contests and won awards for both my costumes there!!! I kinda feel like it's some sort of validation since I don't have the opportunity to enter contests often anymore and I also spend a lot of my time on casual costumes instead of show-pieces.
Professor Burnet was the only one of these six which I hadn't been planning at the beginning of the year. But Mr Stark gave me Pokemon Moon for my birthday, and I totally got sucked in. It was a relatively easy costume (wig aside) since it's entirely modified purchased clothing, but it was fun to pair up with Mr Stark to be professors together. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Veber.
Milotic wasn't on my list at the beginning of the year, but that was mostly just wishful thinking that I might have finished the other 10 costumes before getting to summer and beach costumes... HAH! But I got mitotic done anyways! My deadline was YetiCon to do the pool party with my friends in their water Pokemon swimwear outfits, and while it was wearable at the con, I managed to *actually* finish it in time for a great shoot at Kew Beach in Toronto! Photo courtesy of OOC Photography.
Rock Star Alice was mostly finished in 2016, but I spent time this year putting the finishing touches and additions on the costume, plus actually making my flamingo bass. The bass isn't perfect, but I still love it, and took it to so many cons this year that it now needs repairs from the wear and tear XD. Photo courtesy of Paul Hillier.
Cersei, like Alice, was wearable in 2016, but didn't actually get finished until this year. I put hundreds of hours into hand-painting the lion appliqués, hand-sewing them on, replacing the belt, and making a ring for her this year and got it all done by my deadline of Costume-Con 35. Photo courtesy of Dream Land Photography.
Holtzmann is the third costume which I had been able to wear in 2016 but which didn't get finished until 2017, which meant finishing all the accessories on top of making myself a placeholder "prototype" proton pack. Photo courtesy of Elemental Photography.
A Marvelous Coat was my Costume Con project - I put my own spin on a pre-selected commercial coat pattern and took my design inspiration from Captain Marvel of Marvel Comics. Even though I incorporated some tedious design choices, it still ended up being a surprisingly smooth and enjoyable sewing project, and a real nice change of pace to spend less than 2 weeks on a single costume. Photo courtesy of Very Frank Pictures.
While those were my "big" costumes for the year, I also did a lot of smaller/casual costumes, accessories, and other projects; a lot of which were for my weekly streaming nights with Dan.
1 Ghostbusters jumpsuit for Mr Stark, made to match the rest of the group (sorry this is the best photos I have LOL)
2 Julie from Warm Bodies - total closet cosplay just for a special Halloween-y photoshoot.
3 Betty Cooper from Riverdale - I customized the sweater with the crown appliqué and liberal adjustments for fit, but the rest of the outfit is from my closet.
4 light-up Navi headband (LoZ: Ocarina of Time) for Twitch streaming.
5 Gremlins-inspired closet cosplay for an 80's theme party - I mad the ears out of felt, pipe cleaners, and a headband, and the rest is purchased clothing.
6 Captain Marvel shrug - I bought the shrug from We Love Fine, not realizing that all the yellow parts were lace... and not only that but it was the scratchiest lace EVER. So I replaced the lace with a nice buttery double-sided faux suede.
7 Zelda's crown from LoZ: A Link to the Past for Twitch streaming. Made out of craft foam.
8 Temmie ears from Undertale for twitch streaming. Made out of cabbage swirl fabric and a headband.
9 & 10 Jughead hats based on Riverdale - I've actually made 3 versions in grey now for various friends in addition to the colourful one for myself ^_^
11 Thor hat for Twitch streaming - I used a papercraft template and the shiniest paper I could find to make the wings to glue to a touque in one of my more ridiculous Twitch costumes.
12 #DRINKIT shirt in the style of Tee K.O. for Twitch streaming.
13 #DRINKIT shirt in a much cleaner style painted as a raffle prize for Extra Life.
14 Rose Red shirt based on Fables for Twitch streaming.
As usual, now we compare to my plans back in January:
I have to fight my instinct to scold myself here for only finishing half the list... because if you compare to my track record in 2016 and 2015... five completed out of ten planned is great! Plus a little bit of progress on Captain Marvel and Gwenpool even though neither was finished. I'm staying positive: on top of all the extra little projects and Pokemon costumes, this is good! Besides, I even said last January:
And if I happen to actually finish those 10 costumes? You bet I have a list of 30 more just waiting for my attention. But let's be realistic here, there's no way I'm getting more than 5 of these done in 2017.
..and with that, my "workbench" sidebar progress tracker gets wiped clean in the annual re-set.
Going into 2017 I was working on the assumption that I would be attending fewer conventions this year, simply because I was planning to leave Toronto during the summer, and with less easy access to conventions comes fewer cons. However, since my move didn't end up happening until December, I was at just as many this year as I was in 2016! Just like last year, I was at most of them either as a volunteer for Cosplay for a Cure or for costume contests... and also spent a few behind tables in the AA or as a guest!
FrostCon - with Cosplay for a Cure (blog)
Toronto Comic Con - Cosplay Craftsmanship Contest staff (blog)
Kitchener Comic Con - attendee (blog)
Costume-Con 35 - attendee (blog)
Anime North - Masquerade staff (blog)
Niagara Falls Comic Con - with IcePhoenix Art's table (blog)
YetiCon - attendee (blog)
Toronto Sailor Moon Celebration - with Cosplay for a Cure
Toy Con (July edition) - attendee
ConBravo! - Masquerade staff (blog)
Fan Expo - with Cosplay for a Cure (blog)
GTA Comic Con (November edition) - cosplay guest (blog)
Toronto Fan Days - attendee (blog)
Toy Con / City of Kitchener NYE party - cosplay guest
I did end up going to fewer "cosplay hangout" type events this year, keeping my non-con stuff to just Free Comic Book Day, TCAF, Kew Beach, Niagara Wine Parade (blog), and Halloween parties (blog). In addition, I spent almost every Thursday night this year streaming games on Twitch with my friend and neighbour Dan The Video Ninja... I made a lot of very simple "costumes" for those nights ^_^
Other Big Changes:
Did you notice that you're on slothcore.ca now?
Well, the big one is something I haven't posted about directly but slowly over the last 6 months or so I've re-branded all my cosplay stuff to "Slothcore"... no more Mai Sheri. I think that Slothcore is much more "me" these days, and I also like built-in reference to how slowly I tend to work on my costumes.
The other thing, as I alluded to earlier, is that I moved from Toronto to Kitchener, Ontario in December. While I already miss all my friends in Toronto and it will be much more challenging to go to photoshoots now, it was all for the good cause of moving in with Mr Stark and doing that whole "next step in the relationship" thing XD. As a side effect of the move, I don't have studio space anymore... and while I might be able to do smaller projects in the space we have now, most of my sewing and crafting supplies are in storage because there's just not enough room. We will be moving (again) into a larger place in the spring where we will have room for cos-making so I probably won't be making much progress on anything until that happens.
I somehow met a lot of new friends through all the cons I went to this year, and I'm doing my best to keep up with everyone, old friends and new. You're all so talented ^_^ I hope to cosplay with you or at least say hi at cons again next year! Speaking of which... expect to see my 2018 plans post in a few days!
I can't believe we're at the end of 2016 already. October seemed to last a reasonable length of time but November and December have been a blur of work and cosplay and streaming and oh gawd why did I decide to make so many gifts for Christmas??? Oh, and spending the last 2 weeks being QUITE ILL. But let's not get bogged down in that too much.
It was once again an odd year for new costumes.
Flashback Tizzie was a "casual cosplay" which took far too much work to make and which only exists because Sha suggested wearing elf ears at G-Anime. I did at least get to start work on my actual Tizzie costume via the necklace (and also play with Worbla's TranspArt a little).
Weirdmageddon Wendy was another quick and dirty variant costume put together for my birthday party.
Rock Star Alice isn't technically finished, but since I've worn her a few times and the missing part is just a prop, she's added to the list. This Alice is an original design to go with the Rock Star Disney preincesses that the Cosplay for a Cure girls made. Looking forward to group photos as soon as my instrument is done.
Chihiro wasn't made by me. The costume was made by Kurumasha as part of our Anime North group cosplay efforts. Since I wanted to keep wearing the outfit, I added the wig and shoes so I wouldn't be a "generic bathhouse worker" while solo.
R had been in my to-cosplay for a while, and since Unplugged Expo was a week before Halloween this year, I figured it was time to crossplay again.
Luci and Ammy were both originally just makeup tests I did one weekend after picking up WicDiv. Both turned out so well that they each became a comfy, "low effort" costume to take to cons.
... and finally, Holtzmann. The costume I did because everyone was asking when I will do it LOL. "Fashion" version was for Halloween since it's more work appropriate than just about everything else I own, and I finished the uniform just in time to take to DTAC. There's a little more work to do on her, but since it's more than wearable, she has earned a spot on the list!
You might be thinking, that's a lot of casual/off the rack costumes, even for Mai Sheri, and you'd be right... but a lot of my effort went into still unfinished costumes (like Cersei, Alice) and a lot of the rest of my sewing energies went into costumes for other people.
That's right, I went back to my roots and made a new Pokemon hoodie (this time Blastoise for Mr Stark)! And a Wooper bathing suit (with tail/skirt) for Hikarimoro; who doesn't like water-Pokemon pool parties? I painted up a shirt and sculpted a pendant for The Video Ninja so he could be Baphomet for Kurumasha and I at Snailoween. And then there's my last project of the year: a kid-friendly costume of Princess Zelda from Hyrule Warriors (her Daddy is in charge of making the crown).
.... but back in January, I posted a plan for the year. let's take a look at that again, shall we? .... UGH.
On one hand, there isn't much to talk about here, but on the other, it does go to show how bad I am at sticking to my plans, and also how easily those plans can be set aside to play with new ideas instead. I'm sad that I didn't finish any of these costumes (or even touch most of them), but I am quite happy with what I did make this year, so there's that. I still haven't figured out a way to lay out my plans so that I stick to them though. Maybe in 2017.
......and with that, my workbench sidebar gets wiped clean!
My original plan for 2016 was to attend fewer convnetions than I did in 2015. And technically I did, but 12 cons vs. 13 isn't much of a cutting-back success story hahaha. I did go to fewer "just for fun" though. This year, most of my cons were volunteering - either as masquerade staff or with Cosplay for a Cure. Due to that, I also took a lot fewer photos and didn't write up blog posts for all of the cons.
Toronto Comic Con (blog)
Kitchener ComiCon (blog)
Civil War Geekery Con (blog)
Ottawa Comic Con (blog)
Anime North (blog)
Fan Expo (blog???)
Hamilton Comic Con
Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show (blog)
And of course, all the cosplay-related events like Free Comic Book Day, Mississauga Picnic (blog), Centre Island (blog), co-hosting a GoT trivia night, BrianCon36, Wine Parade (blog), Snailoween, Halloween, and I started a bad habit of cosplaying while streaming games with The Video Ninja (no comment. OK, more comments later). The number of cosplay events in Toronto continues to be crazy, espeically with the increase in geeky bar/food venues. *is still overwhelmed*
First off, there's all these other things that I made! (I sewed a whole bunch of Christmas gifts too but since there's not geeky, they don't matter)
I made five lumas for various charities/fundraisers, plus a Hawkeye one. Also, there's a selection of hats; Castle crashers, Pokemon GO trainer, and Link.
Unfortunately, the "Tutorial Tuesday" series I started last year didn't last very long, but on the up-side, the stencils and FX makeup ones were received very well, so I'm happy with that! I will do more tutorials if people ask and if I think it's something worth teaching.
Streaming has somehow become a thing this year??? Mostly because Dan the Video Ninja got himself all set up on twitch and after doing a couple guest-type spots I caught the bug. We started with the Yooka-Laylee toybox, then a pre-Halloween sit down with Costume Quest 2 (video isn't available but there are some highlights in this compilation), then I tagged along for a chunk of his Extra Life fundraiser. Now we're streaming a play through of Ocarina of Time, every Thursday night, at 9:30pm EST. If watching game streaming is your thing, or you want to bug us on chat while I Save Hyrule, find us at twitch.tv/dan_thevideoninja (or watch social media for the #JenSavesHyrule tag LOL). And if bite-sized edited down versions are more your thing, it's all getting a youtube edition, too.
While the discussion of where things are going in the future is the subject of my next blog post, I wanted to touch on just a few things here. Some big life changes are going to be happening in 2017, so cosplay progress and convention attendance are both going to be more unstable than usual. Along with that, though, comes the potential up-side that I'm going to be selling most of my older costumes - anything that I don't wear anymore or which doesn't fit. Sales posts should be coming before the end of Jan (and will be on all my social media feeds too)
Anyways, thank you to all my readers and friends and family for a fantastically supportive 2016, and I'm looking forward to the things we can do together next year.
Previous years, I've tended to post a lot in December. Trying to put out all the content which has piled up through the year, usually. But this year, I just backed off from blog posts and website updates to fully enjoy the holidays and make sure that all my real life obligations and mental-health got taken care of first. So I guess that's a sorry-not-sorry for the lack of updates through the end of 2015, but nobody missed out on anything either, because I didn't really do anything new ~_^
However, I am itching to get a year-end wrap up post done! My cos-cation feels like it might be wrapping up soon (which means getting back to the sewing machine!) and I'm looking at which cons fit my schedule and everything is exciting again. I accomplished so much in 2015 (despite burning out in October) and I'm going to do my best to keep the ball rolling into 2016!
So.... Here's what the last year looked like for Mai Sheri.
I set a new personal record for convention attendance this year, and cosplay events, too! While it's not necessarily a good thing, it did mean that I met a LOT of new people this year that I otherwise wouldn't have. There were so many this year...
Frost Con (blog)
Kitchener Comic Con (blog)
Toronto Comic Con (blog)
C2E2 (blog) and the Crown Championships of Cosplay (blog)
Anime North (blog)
Niagara Falls Comic Con (blog)
Atomic Lollipop (blog)
Fan Expo Canada (blog)
Forest City ComiCon (blog)
Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show (blog)
Oh, and there's the various other cosplay-type events... Free Comic Book Day, Medieval Times, Centre Island Picnic (blog), Woodbine Beach Picnic (blog), High Park Picnic (photos), Parkinson Superwalk, Niagara Wine Parade (double blog), Halloween parties & Snailoween (bloggity), and the Star Wars New Years Eve party.
... and I skipped a lot of events, or couldn't attend because of other conflicts. It's crazy how many events and conventions there are in Toronto, let alone including nearby cities. On one hand, we're so lucky to have such a large and enthusiastic and involved cosplay community - I know a lot of my non-local friends don't have the privilege of easy access to other local geeks, but on the other, it unfortunately also comes with pressure to attend everything. And shoot with everyone. And always have new things to wear. But also wear the older costumess that so-and-so missed last time XD
And speaking of doing photo shoots...
I set out in 2015 to try to shoot with photographers that I haven't worked with before - as many as I could manage. Because of complicated reasons, my pool of photographer-friends has shrunk in the past couple years, and i wanted to do something about that. Unfortunately, I couldn't manage as many as I ideally would have liked, sometimes because costumes didn't get done, or schedule conflicts arose, but mostly because I can only budget for one paid shoot per convention, but I did my best. Unfortunately, that whole budget thing means that I haven't been able to shoot again with some of my favourite "new" photographers, but I'm going to be trying to catch them again in 2016 ^_^
So, big shout-outs to everyone who scheduled a shoot with me for the first time this past year!
Very Frank Pictures (Modern Mai and Postal Warriors group)
Trillance (Pepper Potts)
Sean's Photography (Mrs Impossible)
SleepyMeow Photography (Cersei Lannister)
Alex Rose Photography (Cersei Lannister)
Eddie B Photos (Katie/Hawkguy group)
Dream Land Photography (Clint Barton and Holiday Midna)
... And of course lots of love to those of you I shoot with every year - you know who you are! <3
Ahhh, here we get to the meat of the post - my beloved costumes!!! While most of them weren't particularly complex costumes, I managed to complete a whopping 9 costumes this year - much better than usual for me! Pretty sure that a big reason for that change is the long break I took from cons in 2014. Worth it.
Firstly, Izabel is not included in the list because even though i "finished" that costume in 2015, it was basically finished in 2014 and I just did some upgrades in preparation for C2E2. First official costume of the year was Modern Mai for Toronto Comic Con (I'm still hopeful that friends will make the coordinating characters), then Cover-art Kate Bishop for a Hakweye group at C2E2. For Anime North I brought out "Postal Midna" in addition to my Postal Warriors friends. Summer contained a mad-rush of costumes all finished about the same time including the relatively casual Extremis Pepper (because Mr Stark made most of the arm), L.A. Woman Kate, Hawkini Kate, and Clint Barton (all in the Hawkeye gllery). I also got all the sewing and about half the painting done on Cersei Lannister - I'm counting it as a completed costume because the rest of the embroidery is really just an "upgrade". And finally, my Space Warrior from Costume Quest, which I finished in time for Halloween but didn't actually wear anywhere, so I haven't been pushing photos out on that one. Some will be coming soon though, I'm sure.
So how did I do relative to my plans at the beginning of the year?
... obviously I added a lot of costumes to the list, and I finished them before I completed the top row, which my goal was not to do. But I had fun, and that's all that really matters, right? Didn't even touch the bottom "Phase Three" row, though, which is sad because those were to come after I made things for other people. Some of which I took care of before Christmas, and some of which I didn't. I also ended up doing some work on Midna's wig just in December which isn't reflected in the percentages yet, but I'm hoping that little bit of work will make it easier to get back to actual progress shortly.
And with that, my ongoing progress list for the year on the side-bar will be wiped clean to start fresh for the new year!
Do you enjoy "let's play" videos? Because it was quite the year for them! I played Yoshi's Woolly World with Dan the Video Ninja (highlights above). I also played the Telltale Game of Thrones series with Dan and Whitless! And... OK, I guess that's it, but it's a lot of game in those two series. Expect more Dan-and-Mai play cartoony games in 2016!
Finally, the last highlight of 2015... a brief update on the little side-job I picked up for a few days in the spring. Remember that? No? It's OK; I'll forgive you. Over Easter weekend I got the opportunity to do some last-minute-level sewing on a costume for Hannibal, which was very surreal. No only because I spent 3 days in an FX workshop literally full of various mutilated (fake) body parts, but because I was actually working on something for a legit TV production. Awesome. And while back in the spring I couldn't discuss what the costume was before it aired, I can talk about it now! Except I'll just share a couple photos instead, and I'm just going to link them in case people want to avoid spoilers (it's from one of the last couple episodes after all...)
Anyways, overall I'm really happy with my 2015 year-in-cosplay. I even still have some photos to post which I'm holding back for now (various reasons)! Looking forward to an even better 2016.... which I'll talk about in my next post!
It's that time of year when all the retrospectives and "Top # whatevers" are being posted, but this year I don't have much of anything to post about, which makes me kinda sad. I mean, I went out in the world and did a whole lot of stuff! but I also made very few costumes and very little progress on ongoing projects.
I went to 9 conventions in 2014, including Tri-Con, Con-G, Ad-Astra, Costume Con 32, Anime North, Colossal Con, Atomic Lollipop, Con Bravo, and Fan Fare Geek Fest II. I also did a photo shoot with the Oakville Camera Club, got to go to the Game of Thrones costume and prop exhibit, saw my costumes on display at the CNE, hung out at Lookin' for Heroes for both Free Comic Book Day and the shop's 25th anniversary, saw Welcome to Night Vale live, and partied hard at Snailoween. And I can't forget travelling to Ottawa to spend a weekend with most of my Ottawa cosplay friends! At the conventions I went to I got to be: on the runway for Simplicity designer Andrea Schewe, a cosplay guest, a masquerade judge, a cover model, and part of a massive cosplay music video.
But unfortunately there are only so many hours in the day, and I am not a "professional" cosplayer; I have a full time job and a boyfriend in another city and friends to spend time with... so I often don't have much time and energy left for making things, which was especially true this year. I only made 3 new costumes for myself: T-shirt Chell (very simple and casual), Erika (which was a fair amount of work, but a lot of which had been "accidentally" done long before hand), and Izabel (which is cute but I'm not sure that my time-spent is apparent in the result). I also made a light jacket for myself, an Iron Man dress, and a River Song dress for 'Manda. ...and one or two goofy things. I made progress on the ongoing project of Twili Midna... but there is still a very long way to go on that. As with all my ongoing costumes.
I really don't know how other cosplayers keep up such a high creative output... it's something that can really get me down on myself when I see how much awesome stuff my friends are constantly posting on social media. I know that some don't need day-jobs and can build and model full-time, some put less care and detail into construction than I do, some collaborate a lot to lighten the work-load, and a multitude of other differences; but I have never been able to get that time management thing working for me. I can either make costumes, OR play video games/watch movies and TV/read books, OR see my friends and boyfriend, OR get an adequate amount of sleep - all things I love to do. OR quit my day job to give me time to do all those things, which part of me would love (LOL) but would be very problematic in terms of paying rent and bills. Despite taking a break from conventions the second half of this year, my costume output has not increased, if anything it has stagnated further.
But hey, at least the break from cons has given me enough time to spend actual energy with my fandoms again, like reading Saga, Fables, and various Marvel titles; playing video games both off and on camera; finally discovering The Thrilling Adventure Hour; binge-watching GoT, Veronica Mars, Castle, Brooklyn 99, and Archer; and of course, planning new group costumes with my friends which will probably never actually get done (hey, at least I'm self-aware enough to know!)
In any case, here's to a 2015 with new costumes, new conventions, and better time management! I only have four conventions confirmed for this year so far (as usual my home page has the current list) but I will consider anything else that looks interesting! :)
Sam Sparks 55%